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Posts Tagged ‘Pluto’

Stunning Image of Pluto

This is one of the highest resolution images of Pluto released so far. I have reduced the size so I can display it here.

Pluto

I remember fifty years ago, as a young boy, reading books about our solar system, when images of the outer planets were fuzzy blobs at best. I am a techie, I am into science, and I am absolutely delighted that I live in a time and an age where I can see an image of Pluto, an object 4.7 billion miles away, with this clarity.

Light itself takes 4.6 hours to get there. The New Horizons spacecraft which took this picture, flying by Pluto at a speed of 50,000 km/hour, took 9 years and 8 months to travel there.

And I get to sit here and post this picture on my blog.

Amazing.

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Moon one Pixel

Picture Credit: www.joshworth.com

If you ever want to visualize the incredible size of just our solar system, and how it is almost completely empty, go to this website by Josh Worth.

On that site you can scroll from the sun to the various planets, and as you scroll, you “feel” how small the planets are and how far they are away. If the moon were the size of a pixel, as seen in the picture above, Earth would a tiny dot of a few¬†pixels and about 35 millimeters away from the moon.

Pluto is smaller than the moon. The moon has a diameter of 3,474 km, and Pluto only 2,368 km. It’s only 18% the moon’s mass. So it would be smaller than a pixel, and could not even be seen on this scale.

However, on this scale, it would still be about 685 meters away from this point. That’s about a third of a mile or the length of about seven football fields.

So, if the Earth were the size of this dot on this picture, then Pluto would be a speck of dust a third of a mile away.

The New Horizons spacecraft left Earth in January 2006 and has traveled more than¬†eight years. It’s the fastest human-made object ever, traveling about 100 times faster than a modern jetliner. And it has been on the way for eight years leaving that blue speck on the screen aiming for that speck of dust 685 meters away.

And it’s going to hit it three days from now.

 

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